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Good Sign
By Davol
Label: GIRA Sound
Released 3/1/2010
Good Sign tracks
1. Scarborough Days  
2. Good Sign  
3. Going There  
4. Nautikos  
5. A Place Here  
6. Truth 2010  
7. Stay  
8. Goodnight  
Good Sign
If there’s an artist who is better at crafting irresistible hook-laden electronic keyboard music than Davol, I haven’t heard him or her. The guy is a like a chill-out/electronica hit-making machine. If his type of music ever returned to the commercial airwaves, he’d own the top 40 in this genre. Oh well, in another world, I guess. Now, let’s get on to the matter at hand.

As a follow-up to his acclaimed A Day Like No Other, Good Sign trumps that recording's already high standard, which is really saying something since A Day Like... was a damn fine CD. Good Sign dials up the catchy refrains to an almost addictive level while inducing so much toe-tapping and finger-snapping that listening to this on headphones in a library would almost guarantee being cited for creating a public disturbance. The sheer magnitude of spot-on perfected chillage distributed throughout this album’s eight tracks is staggering. As on all his releases, Davol manages to vary the music from song to song while retaining his signature sound through the employment of his trademark keyboards, which will be recognizable to anyone who has heard his previous releases.

Something new on Good Sign is a little dash of overt electronica elements meshed in with the more mainstream "new age pop instrumental" (which is the artist's stock-in-trade), most notably on the thumping dance beats of Truth 2010 and Stay, both which could prompt clubbers to hit the floor, I'd imagine. Besides these two tracks, you might spot other new wrinkles in Davol's modus operandi, although there is simply no mistaking his style. On this CD, though, he’s even more zeroed-in on hitting all the right "notes" than on his previous recordings. Like I stated earlier, Good Sign is chock full of hits.

All eight tracks are Davol originals, as they always are on his albums. Scarborough Days launches the proceedings with his "patented" sparkling guitar samples and a midtempo shuffling chill-out beat amidst layer upon layer of shimmering iridescent textures and bell tones. The title track opens with a luxurious synth wash buoyed by funky chilled beats and still more assorted keyboards, (headphones will reveal Davol's sterling production and engineering quality). Going There takes the Ryan Farish formula of echoed piano and Enigma-esque beats and infuses it with a variety of swaying guitar textures (the guitar "noises" are from noted artist Peter Maunu, by way of Spectrasonics Bizarre Guitar), and those same kind of beats and piano are also present on Nautikos but here the orchestral instrumentation is lush and sensual. After three more tracks, Goodnight closes the CD in a gentle vein, with piano and acoustic guitars carrying the load amidst a less dense array of accompanying keyboards and only a subtle rhythm track. It's a great "wind down" to the album especially since the last two tracks (the aforementioned Stay and "Truth 2010”) are the highest energy numbers on the album.

It’s really a no-brainer, folks. Good Sign is as good an album of accessible (read: mainstream and pop-structured) electronic keyboard chill-out as you're going to hear this year from anyone. Davol can still show the newcomers in this genre (as talented as they are) a thing or two. He can cram more hooks and melody into 41 minutes (which Good Sign clocks in at) than many artists can in twice the amount of time. You know my mantra—quality beats quantity every time, and Good Sign brims over with nothing but the best.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 9/17/2010
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